Tesla popups piss-off dealers

Gotta love Elon Musk. Making friends all over the place. First he builds a cool electric car that goes like a cut cat. Faster than a Ferrari, Porsche or fully-sic WRX. Lots of upset Euro super car makers and bogans.

Musk also said no-deal to dealerships long ago – selling directly to customers instead from company owned sites in upscale shopping areas. Now Tesla’s touring full-fledged popup stores in popular summer locations across the US and Europe. Something old-school car dealers can’t match for a host of reasons.

During Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk said the company had “a secret weapon on the demand side that we’ll probably start to deploy later this year for demand generation,” adding that it could be a “good weapon against the dealers.”

Popups it is then.

Made from shipping containers, the popup trucks on in and “unfolds to double its size in just a few hours,” Tesla said in a media release. “The mobility and convenience of the design allows Tesla to bring our unique retail approach to customers in new locations where we do not yet have a brick-and-mortar location.”

Tesla’s direct-to-consumer model is truly disruptive in a world where the word’s lost its meaning (what next: “disruptive toast”?).They’re meeting potential customers in a most efficient, relevant way – with zero risk of cannibalising sales from their non-existent dealer network.

Popups let Tesla reach more customers and handle much of the brand awareness and lead generation normally expected of advertising. Plus earned-media is so much sweeter.

If a company with higher sales per square metre than Apple (yes, frick’n Apple!), whose Model S sales are up 56% on last quarter makes strategic use of popups it’s probably time to see how they can help your brand.

We’re talking to several national Australian brands about their popup strategy already and we’d love to help you too. www.popupbrandshq.com

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